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Quinn administration accuses Rep. of “political stunt” that would violate state and federal laws

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014

* Two things are missing from this article

A key House Republican involved in the legislative probe of Gov. Pat Quinn’s 2010 Neighborhood Recovery Initiative announced plans Wednesday to personally visit a state agency to mine additional staff emails involving the program that the lawmaker believes have been withheld improperly by the administration.

In a letter to the governor, state Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill, urged Quinn to authorize “full and complete access to the emails and electronically stored information at [Central Management Services] related to the NRI program.”

Reis noted that a lawyer for former Quinn deputy chief of staff Toni Irving, who helped oversee the anti-violence grant program, indicated to the Legislative Audit Commission that CMS, which controls most of the state’s computer data servers containing emails, had found “over 100,000” relevant emails in a search. Yet, Auditor General William Holland had access to “a number much less than that figure,” Reis wrote. […]

In his letter, Reis said he intends to bring “an expert in the field of electronic discovery” with him to CMS’ Springfield offices on Sept. 3 and intends “to start my work and will continue until my review of the materials is complete.”

* The first thing missing is any sort of context. Reis knows full well that the 100,000 emails were all of Irving’s emails from the entire time she worked for the administration. So, of course the Auditor General looked at fewer than 100,000.

* The second things missing is a response from the governor’s office. I asked for a response this morning and here it is…

The representative’s demand is a political stunt and undermines the law as well as the Legislative Audit Commission’s process for requesting documents related to their review.

As was made clear during the commission hearing in July, the counsel in reference noted the former state employee had hundreds of thousands of total emails in her possession, not 100,000 related to anti-violence programs. Additionally, if the representative were to show up at CMS and demand a search of a secure facility, he would be asking the agency to violate a variety of state and federal laws.

Our office has fully complied with the Legislative Audit Commission. At their request we have provided a disc with more than 2,000 emails related to NRI. The limited number of emails not provided on the disc were legally-protected attorney-client communications between state employees and state attorneys either seeking or providing legal advice.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


30 Comments
  1. - Goonhammer - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 1:05 pm:

    I’m not a lawyer and maybe one can clarify this, but here it is:

    If a Government employee is being investigated by the General Assembly are their personal emails, that are in regard to a program they are involved with, subject to investigation as well? Doesn’t there need to be a warrant since not all 100,000 are from government mail accounts?

    Second question, if those emails were sent from Irvings PRIVATE account to a GOVERNMENT account, are now all 100,000 cited emails subject to review?

    I look forward to someones response.


  2. - LIncoln (B)LOGger - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    Flashing back to two days of hearings that made GOPers look more than silly. Didn’t that stunt backfire? This is even more ridiculous.


  3. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    I’m not sure anyone needs David Reis “helping.”

    Better to let Barckman and Sandack lead on this one.

    Back to the Irrelevant Caucus, please Dave, with your friends Ives, Kay, Mitchell, etc.


  4. - Just Observing - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    Clearly a stunt as the Rep fully knows CMS are not going to allow any Rep just to show up and be granted carte blanche access to all the servers.


  5. - Befuddled - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    dumb.


  6. - Rahm'sMiddleFinger - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    I’m surprised that David Reis knows how to use a computer. Also very impressed that was able to write a letter.

    All kidding aside, he’s not the sharpest knife in the GOP drawer and should leave it Barickman and Sandack.


  7. - Slow Down - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    Election season can be very revealing. Mr. Reis has provided us a window into his mind, such as it is.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    Rep. Reis… maybe you need to sit out a few plays.

    You’re welcome.

    To the Post,

    Dopey stunts like this dull down the October Hammer.

    It will be heavy enough then. It will have Federal approval then. It might even have some sort of Federal movement to pivot off of…

    Hold your powder. It’s teed up, don’t wiff.


  9. - anon - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    See nothing wrong with this request. It seems the Gov/CMS have less than forth coming with their sharing of information. If they have given them everything then there should be no concern. Let him knock himself out.


  10. - Siriusly - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    The state does not need a warrant to investigate the behavior of any of its employees. However, Representative Reis is not actually the state and he does not have the authority to start demanding records.

    It’s a stunt and makes him look ignorant of the law.


  11. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    anon @ 1:48 That amounts to the old “If you’re not guilty of anything, then you wouldn’t mind me looking around your house” bit. Which is clearly illegal and/or unconstitutional and/or unethical depending on the context.


  12. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    Is this Reis’s tryout for Congress?


  13. - walker - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 2:37 pm:

    Maybe Reis just wants to show up and record his being (properly) refused, or even ushered off state property.

    He has misrepresented what the lawyer actually said, repeatedly. Maybe he needs a special non-partisan hearing aid.


  14. - move on - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    I get that the GOP wants to use this as a campaign issue, but aren’t they starting to hit the point of ridiculous and wasting taxpayer dollars? I imagine there are much better things people can be doing on state time than reviewing these email and responding to GOP requests for more paper. Enough is enough. Let the US Attorney do his job and stay out of it.


  15. - Norseman - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 3:17 pm:

    Reis is a dope!


  16. - Try-4Truth - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 3:35 pm:

    I’ll ask again, since it was referenced here. Are we sure that the “Feds” are looking at the Quinn administration? Or, are they looking at the grantees? What happens if there is no “October Hammer”? I’m wondering if the Republicans know this and are trying to make hay out of it now because there is no “there” there for Quinn.

    I think this might be a big mistake for the R’s to pursue. If the Feds don’t target Quinn in October, then they will look just plain goofy over this.


  17. - Demoralized - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 3:48 pm:

    Once again the Republicans bungle their handling of this. First the fiasco of the hearings and now this. This NRI thing is T-Ball. It’s been set there for them to swing at and yet they still miss.


  18. - Toure's Latte - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 4:04 pm:

    Love how the HRO continues to interfere with a Federal investigation.


  19. - Quit Making this Political - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 4:18 pm:

    This is not a political stunt. Reis and the rest of the Commission are elected to do exactly what he is doing. The public demands this work to be done and he consulted with experts in the field and attorneys prior to writing the letter. The letter was leaked by the current administration because I know the person who leaked it along with the cover story that it is political move. Is it a political move for the Department of Justice to seize records or are they just doing their jobs?


  20. - Try-4Truth - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 4:20 pm:

    Mr. Quit Making this Political,

    You have just proven the point why this is political.

    I love how you “know the person who leaked it”.

    Please, do tell us some more about how you have the inside on this story.


  21. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 4:21 pm:

    Did the Quinn campaign put him up to this?


  22. - Try-4Truth - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 4:23 pm:

    And, Mr. Quit Making this Political…

    If it’s in the Legislature, it is, by definition, political. The Legislature cannot put people in jail, cannot fine them, cannot take away their liberty at all. So, the analogy of the DOJ is not accurate.


  23. - Norseman - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 4:26 pm:

    @Quit Making this Political, I’ve got some quality plots of land on the Moon I’d like to sell you. Beautiful view of the Earth.

    An individual lawmaker threatening to show up at an agency’s door is such a HUGE and stupid political stunt. If this was a legit issue, the General Assembly has subpoena power to gather information.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 4:30 pm:

    === Reis and the rest of the Commission are elected to do exactly what he is doing. The public demands this work to be done and he consulted with experts in the field and attorneys prior to writing the letter.===

    They also agreed to wait until October. Are you paying attention?

    Reis’ experts are bigger Dopes than Reis.

    The commission has no arresting powers, all it can do is see and report back their conclusions of the funding of the Auditor General’s report.

    ===. The letter was leaked by the current administration because I know the person who leaked it along with the cover story that it is political move. Is it a political move for the Department of Justice to seize records or are they just doing their jobs?===

    I don’t know, what shape is my tin foil hat? If it’s a pirate hat, it’s a conspiracy…

    Yikes.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 4:35 pm:

    “My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy, who knows this Quinn State Staffer, who’s going with the girl, who saw the Quinn Campaign Crew person pass out this letter, to a press person, at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.”


  26. - Don't Spin It - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 5:28 pm:

    There are some problems with what I am reading. The emails given to the Auditor General were represented by the Governor’s office to be the entire PST files of the IVPA employees. The Auditor General himself stated that he thought they were given all of the files, but many more may exist.
    Additionally, in a letter from Dr. Irving’s counsel there were 9 pst files representing over 100,000 emails given to Dr. Irving after leaving state employment. Therefore the Governor’s office has waived all rights to the files and/or any claim of attorney client protection.
    There is not a violation of any state or federal law. The AG’s office in a September 23, 2009 opinion titled Official access to information by state legislators spelled out that a legislator can have access to even protected and private information of the government as long as it falls within the scope of his duties or responsibilities. That was upheld by the appellate and supreme court in cases Ebert v Thompson 94CH4402 and Barrett v Hinsdale 10CH3983.
    The real problem is that the public demands disclosure of the documents/emails being withheld. You may ask what documents were withheld? Simple! In a letter from DLA Piper attorneys to the Commission it was stated that attorney Shomberg asked that documents and emails received by Dr. Irving be withheld if they contained names of certain individuals at the Governor’s office. Just because someone asks you to withhold emails from the Commission when you have a legit subpoena you cannot withhold the records.
    It is clear that the Governor’s office is playing games with the discovery process. This is why the courts often hire eDiscovery/Computer Forensic Experts to go into the camp of the opposing party’s records and find relevant information. This is allowed and suggested by law as the eDiscovery laws (FRCP Rule 26) allows for Special Masters and full disclosure of records that are relevant. What is the Governor afraid of?
    Simple. The same scenario was played out with Springfield PD when they destroyed records and the recent case. In Carlock v Sangamon County, the case can spun out of control and cost the tax payers a great deal of money. The Carlock case cost over 2 million, in which 1 million was attributed to the government hiding and deleting evidence and then trying to defend the destruction in court.
    It is simple. The Auditor General asked for records and one of the alleged bad actors was in charge of collecting those documents and emails (Malcolm Weems). So that is basically the same as asking a criminal to hand you the weapon used in the crime. Are you kidding me!!!! This will never be fair until there is full disclosure.
    The Commission was elected to do a job. Digging in is part of the job. Reis isn’t on the news trying to put points on the board. He is representing the tax payer and the Commission correctly by giving the Governor a chance to show he can be trusted. Additionally, the issues with protected documents can be handled when Reis searches using the 2.4 million dollar discovery system the state tax payers paid for. The system actually analyzes documents for privilege and can segregate them out.


  27. - Willy's Critic - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 5:31 pm:

    Willy - You don’t have all the facts. The letter from the DOJ stated that they encouraged the Commission to continue it’s efforts of collecting email and documents. They only wanted to hold the depositions up because one of the deponents was willing to tell the whole story and make a deal.


  28. - The Dude Abides - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 7:31 pm:

    The bigger question is how do dopes like Reis get elected? Right now Quinn is the underdog in the Governor’s race. All Reis is doing is reminding voters that there are some members of the GOP that are of below average intelligence.


  29. - Norseman - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 10:31 pm:

    Don’t Spin It - nice moniker for someone who took so many words to do just that. Reis is pulling a stunt. No ifs ands or buts.

    Regarding your lengthy waste of case law citations. Nobody is saying he can’t see the info if he gets his hands on it. The issue is whether he gets his hands on it. The debate about the information should be between LAC and the Governor’s Office.


  30. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 7:26 am:

    === You don’t have all the facts. ===

    I feel pretty comfortable that I can grasp of an utterly Dopey stunt that reeks of an Elliot Ness raid with no real teeth of authority, except to seem relevant.

    Reis should maybe let the adults handle this, and his “G Men!” comic book antics to himself.

    Can you see Reis?

    “Seal those file cabinets!”

    “Um, Representative, you can take off the fedora, we’re inside.”

    ===The letter from the DOJ stated that they encouraged the Commission to continue it’s efforts of collecting email and documents. They only wanted to hold the depositions up because one of the deponents was willing to tell the whole story and make a deal.===

    I think Rich speaks for me here, in regards why I feel pretty comfortable where I sit.

    Rich;

    ===* The first thing missing is any sort of context. Reis knows full well that the 100,000 emails were all of Irving’s emails from the entire time she worked for the administration. So, of course the Auditor General looked at fewer than 100,000.===

    Rep. Reis is a Dope.

    To further that, the political optics in Mid October is loads better than July, August, September.

    “I love emails”

    “Do you really love the emails, or are you just saying you love the emails?”

    “I love emails. I love emails.”

    Yikes.


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